Cesar Wee Jr., President of Wee Community Developers (WeeComm), recently shared his story and advice for real estate entrepreneurs at an online forum organized by the Anvil Business Club. Over 100 members attended the prestigious club’s first meeting of the year.
The successful entrepreneur shared his business journey with Anvil’s members. Cesar reminisced about how he was the black sheep of the family, and how, when he started working for the family business, he believed himself to be an underqualified boss.
Cesar also shared stories of not meeting his father’s standards of success, how leaving the family business gave him more experience and made him a better businessman. The real estate mogul laughed at the number of times he was fired, and the number of times he would butt heads with his father, also a giant in the real estate business. “The reasons why my dad fired me are the reasons I am successful,” he said.
Cesar even highlighted how leaving the family business improved his relationship with his father, his wife and kids, and his family. He talks about how being the black sheep forced him to open doors and find his own way. While being a black sheep is not a requirement, there is a drive you can find in those kinds of people that push them to prove themselves.
He offered advice for entrepreneurs and others who want to get into the real estate business:
1. Start small and develop land as an individual.
“Probably the first thing you would do is start a townhouse project and that’s a good move, but don’t put up a company to develop that townhouse project,” Cesar said. He cites the difference in VAT for companies (12%) with income taxes (~30%) vs individuals (6%). So developing as an individual benefits both you and your customers.
2. Don’t forget to undercut the market.
“Our formula is simple: We will do a bigger condo, but we sell it cheaper,” he said. He also advised to do your research and check your competitors before entering an area.
3. Those in first place aren’t always the first pick.
The WeeCom president likes to woo the second, third, and fourth in-line brokers instead of the top dog.
“We always go for the number twos, threes, fours, and fives,” he said. They’re his best sellers, and other companies don’t court them.
4. Don’t quit your day job.
It may be tempting, but he advises to keep your day job. “My suggestion is to collect your salary. Use your income to make your business grow faster,” he said.
5. Delay gratification.
Just because you can afford it now, doesn’t mean you should spend it. Put that money back into the business and you’ll get even more returns later.
“I could’ve bought a nice car 10 years ago, but that would’ve stopped me from doing a project that would’ve yield me x10,” he said.
6. Find the perfect opportunity to go all in.
It’s a gamble, but fortune favors the bold.
The Anvil Business Club (formerly the Association of Young Filipino-Chinese Entrepreneurs) is an organization of young Filipino-Chinese businessmen and professionals, aged 21 to 50, committed to propagate positive values in promoting a healthy economy and a progressive society.
Want more business advice? Check out this article for tips for success from the Anvil Business Club’s George Siy.